Friday, January 30, 2009

Thank you!!!

Thank you to Kristina at "My Words To Live By" for my blog award.

If you haven't 'visited' Kristina yet, then please click on her link to the right and stop by.

Everyone has such nice wallpaper backgrounds and such wonderful, imaginative things on their blogs. I'm just now learning how to post pictures, awards and things on my own without the help of my teenager. As soon as he's finished with basketball I'm going to tie him down and add some fancies to mine.

One last thing before I go. Remember that I sent my manuscript off to the publisher? Well, I got some good news back this week. I can't talk about it just yet, but check back this weekend!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

There she is....Miss America

Be forwarned. I love the Miss America Pageant. And the Miss USA Pageant. Any pageant, actually. So, if you're coming here thinkin' that this hillbilly girl is gonna write somethin' about pageants exploitin' women, blah, blah, blah - wrong!

I have such fond memories growin' up in the Ozarks and Grandma, Grandad and I would make plans that weekend every year to watch Miss America. After supper, we'd hurry 'round to clean the table, wash and dry the dishes and put everything away. Then Grandma would get out the old-fashioned popcorn popper, heat waaayy too much butter on the stove and get the sweet ice tea ready. Those were the days!

Well, Grandma's been gone for 12 years and Grandad only 3, but I still am a faithful follower of the pageant every year.

Miss Indiana is Miss America 2009

Nope, I never competed in the Miss Pageants. However, I did compete for and finally held the title of Mrs. Missouri (1996) - that's Mrs - as in married. I remember a little girl asked me once what the difference was between me and Miss Missouri. I wanted to say 'cellulite and stretch marks'. But instead I smiled sweetly and explained to her that I had a handsome husband at home, and well, Miss Missouri just had to go home by herself. Poor girl.

Another big difference? When Miss Missouri won she was whisked off to a big, beautiful reception in her honor. After I won, I went backstage and changed a poop-y diaper. No. Really. I did.

All, in all, it was a lot of fun. I had 'retired' from broadcast the year before and it gave me a chance to resurrect my speaking career which lasted until I moved to the Washington DC/Virginia area 8 years ago.

Lacey Fitzgerald - Miss Missouri 2009

I also had the opportunity that year to judge the American Co-Ed Pageant in St. Louis. The 12 year old girl that won grew up to represent Missouri in the Miss America Pageant this year. Lacey Fitzgerald. Even at 12 I can remember how dynamic she was in interview! That year I met another great lady whom I still love and miss dearly. Eugenia Scantlin. I wish I had a photo of the beautiful, glamorous Eugenia. Unfortunately, I don't but I'm sure you know here daughter - Melana. Melana was Miss Teen Missouri USA that year, went on to be Miss Missouri USA and was on the television show Average Joe. She also was the youngest Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleader and announces for the Chiefs games.

Beautiful girl and her mama is just as beautiful. And soooo much fun! I've lost touch with Eugenia and some of my other pageant friends but just the memories of the good times we've had together makes me smile!

I have many friends that I still keep in touch with left over from my pageant days.

Aime (Rinehart) Cohen was Miss Missouri USA the same year I was Mrs. Missouri.

Aimee Rinehart Cohen - Miss Missouri USA 1996

I first met her when she competed in the Miss America system. She consistently placed in the top ten. The year she competed for Miss Missouri USA she won and I ended up being her personal assistant and traveled with her. She essentially loaned me her competition wardrobe to wear at Mrs. America! How cool is that?!? Now she is married with a family of her own and we still keep in touch. She is one of my best friends and I talk to her and see her as often as I can, but not near as much as I'd like.

Sonya Wise - Mrs. Missouri 1999

Sonya was my 2nd runner-up. She took a short break from competing and came back and won the pageant in 1999. However, I knew Sonya before then. I've known her for over 20 years - and although she still lives 'back home' - yes, another hillbilly debutante, we talk at least once a week and she's even been here to Virginia to visit me! And - ahem! - keeps promising another visit.

Laurett Arenz - Mrs. America 2001

Laurett was Mrs. Virginia when she won Mrs. America. About a year after I moved here I was the Fashion Director for a modeling agency and I was Laurett's agent. It really is a small world, isn't it? She's a truly nice woman and very hard worker. I wish all of my models and actors had been as hard-working and reliable as she was.

So, you see - all those feminists who talk about how pageants 'exploit' women - I just don't see it that way. And while it's not for everyone, pageants were a wonderful experience for me that opened lots of doors. I miss the comraderieship and the glamour! But I will always treasure the lasting friendships I made along the way. So much for the stories of sabotage and destruction. And while I'm sure stuff like that does go on, I (thank God) never experienced it.

Plus, if I can dispel any 'hillbilly girl' stereotypes along the way, I'm only happy to oblige!

Thank you for letting this old 'has-been' reminisce for a while. Shhh...I think they're playing my song!

There she is.....Miss America...

There she is... your ideal....

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A wise friend once said....

"God doesn't give you the people you want - He gives you the people you help you, hurt you, leave you, love you and make you into the person you were meant to be."

Every once in a while someone will give advice, or I will stumble upon a passage and it really, really speaks to me in a very profound manner. It literally changes my life.

My friend Barbara Browder (from Florida) sent the above quote to me yesterday and I have to thank her because it enabled me to put various phases of my life into perspective.

Of course I could name many people who have contributed to my successes, either by encouraging me or discouraging me, which usually only makes me try harder. But for the sake of expedience, I'll only mention the few with the most signicant impact.

I thank God for those he sent to:

HELP: David and Sue Myers were a couple who already had 7 foster children and 2 of their own when they brought a 15-year-old girl and her 1-year-old baby into their home, enabling the girl to finish her education and keep her baby. For the first time in her life the girl was introduced to church, eventually gave her life to Christ and a few years later married a good Christian man. The baby grew up in a story book household with two parents that loved her more than life itself. Although David died a young man, Sue, now a woman in her 70's, still lives in Springfield, Missouri. That 'baby' is now a Christian wife with children of her own, to this day affectionately refers to Sue as "Omah" and has a blog called "hillbilly debutante.'' Yes, I am the baby of that 15-year-old girl.

HURT: Deb - a woman who went out of her way to befriend me when I moved to DC. Never in a million years did I dream that she'd end up stalking and terrorizing our family to the point that the Magistrate Judge, the Chief of Police, and two attorneys advised us to not only move - but to get out of the county. For the last month that we lived in the house, my son (who was 10 at the time) and myself had to have round the clock supervision and couldn't even be alone in our own home. Neighbors were scared to death to come forward to help for fear she'd be their next victim (we found out she had terrorized the woman who lived in the house before us). It was the most stressful time of my life (I'm about to finish the book about it) The good reputation I had worked to cultivate and was so proud of my whole life was being ruined. Worse - she was trying to take my child from me.
Being a prisoner in your own home - and not even being able to walk around in your own neighborhood makes you view life completely different. Now that I'm 'free' I live every single day to its fullest - I take NOTHING for granted and appreciate everything, especially being able to live in peace.

LEAVE: Sue. We were very close. We did everything together and she was witness to 100% of what was going on. Her testimony was imperative. At the last minute she refused to come forward and testify because she was afraid she'd be the next victim. My husband told me to forget about her - she'd told him point blank that she just couldn't do it. No way, I argued. Sue loves me - we're always there for each other. She won't let this happen to me. I sat in court and watched the door, knowing that she would walk in and save the day. It wasn't until the courtroom doors closed one by one, that I realized I was really and truly alone. I had never known such betrayal. Someone I loved and trusted was willing to let me burn because they were afraid to take a stand. Afraid to tell the truth. Thankfully, there was a man (whom I barely knew) who had also, without my knowledge witnessed Deb's stalking and was willing to come forward and testify.

This may sound strange but I am thankful for the ones He sent to hurt me and leave me. Without that experience I would not be the strong, faithful servant I am right now. I KNOW firsthand that God is in control. I am not afraid to love or to open my heart and let others in. I have a husband that I am closer to today than at any point in our marriage. I have children that love and cherish me. Nothing fazes me because I know that He is there and He is in control. I am too good to seek revenge. God says vengeance is His, but I don't waste time hoping or wishing that He will seek vengeance on my enemies. Instead, I pray for them. I pray that He will soften their hearts and they will seek Jesus and turn their lives over to Him. He has blessed me beyond measure - more than I ever could have known - all because of Deb and Sue. I am 100% sure that neither knew what a blessing they would be in my life!! Especially not Deb!

More than anything, when things go awry, this has taught me to just be patient, be still and have the confidence that He will work it out.

And last, but certainly not least:

LOVE - These people are many, many, many! I am so blessed in this regard! I have so many good friends. A wonderful family. But, mostly I feel truly blessed to have found my one true love early in life. Jay and I were 18 and 19 when we got married. My love for him is even stronger than when we were young. I'm 46 years old now and my dreams for my life and the things I've wanted for myself have changed through the years. But my love for this man has never wavered. I wish every woman could have this kind of love in her life.

I'd like to end with one of my favorite sayings. It was from Mother Teresa. It's humorous, but also rings true for most of us, I'm sure.

"I know God won't give me more than I can handle, but sometimes I wish he didn't trust me so much!"

Amen, sista!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Happy New Year!

For those of you have followed Hillbilly Debutante since its inception, you know that my main intention was to simplify my life. So, I decided to live the country life in the city, and document it - thus Hillbilly Debutante..And you might remember (much to my honey's dismay) that I sold the high-falutin' Mercedes and the fancy schmancy Expedition, and bought a beat-up vintage suburban and named her 'Dixie.' We transformed our home into the flea-market, shabby-chic, cottage style. I also started filling my closet with vintage clothes. I cut my hair way short (less styling time). I started wearing less makeup. However that one didn't work out too well - I still have to get all painted up and powdered up (baby steps, Kathie, baby steps)

After spending 10 days here, I got to thinkin' that I could still do more to de-stress.

So, the first thing I did was to end my commute. Yessirree, Bob. As soon as I got back from sailing I started looking for a job closer to home. I found one within a few weeks. (thank you, God!)

So, I can finally say bye-bye to this:

DC traffic and I have always had a volatile relationship, so it was really time for us to part ways. Besides, I'm breakin' my cussin' habit this year and the only way I can stop that is to cut back on my traffic time. Mission accomplished. The traffic, not the cussin' (yet.)

I'm not going to waste any more time pouting. Life is waay too short to be unhappy. Since I can't just zip out of the city limits whenever I want, I'll do the next best thing. What's the 'next best thing?' Glad you asked.---TA DA! It's Cracker Barrel, of course. I LOVE THIS PLACE! This is a hillbilly girl's version of Disney Land - did you know that?

Why, it's the mixture of the atmosphere...along with the fact the vittles taste almost as good as Grandma's kitchen. And it's the only place I can get my favorite meal....

Fried chicken livers, mashed potatoes and gravy, and fried okra. I know, I know, you're probably one of those hoity toity folks that don't cotton to chicken livers. Fine. There's more for me. Go eat your tofu.(Hmphh)

Look at my arms. Poor things. They look so lonely, don't they? They are ready to rock a new generation.

I promise to decorate my house for every season. I used to do that and then got away from it. Take this house above, for instance. Isn't that adorable? Every season, the lady of this house decorates her porch. Although it's about 20 miles from my house, sometimes I just hop in the car and drive by just because it makes me smile. I wonder if she has any idea how much joy her time and effort bring to a complete stranger. And probably not to just me - but a lot of people. I like to imagine she's inside baking an apple pie for her family. Not a store bought frozen one. But a real one where she's peeling the apple and making her own crust. Mmm-hmmm. I'll bet she even wears a pretty apron, too!

I'm going to go out and party more - woo-ho0! At least once a month. I'm gonna drink Diet Coke all night, listen to loud music, and stay up at least til 10:00!! No, seriously, I AM going to start going out more. I haven't done that in ages.

I already got a jump start on that one, by the way. On New Year's Eve I put on my boogie shoes and went with Dino and Rachael (SIL and Daughter) to Dino's restaurant in Arlington. It's called 'Yaku.'

The music was great and the food was wonderful. (My boys were out of town visiting Honey's parents). At the stroke of midnight everyone around me was kissing that special someone. Then again, by the stroke of midnight some of them were too far gone to know (or care) who they were kissing. It's moments like that when I'm glad I'm only a diet Coke drinker, ya know?

The D.J. started playing the music to "Auld Lang Syne" and the crowd took it's cue and sang along. I watched with tears in my eyes, happy for the blessing of the past year, and a heart excited with anticipation with the blessings of a New Year. A New Beginning

So, here it is. January 2009. 2008 was a great year. Who ever dreamed that one trip to Tortola, would prompt me to rethink my life and make drastic life-altering changes. Some of the changes were 'on purpose.' Finding a job so close to home so I can dedicate my life to being a homemaker first and foremost. A writer second. I lost the first 20 pounds. Now I'll get rid of the last 20. And of course a change most special. One that wasn't planned but is so very, very special. One that is so hard to wait for!!

I love you little peapod. You don't even know who I am but I know you and I've waited a lifetime for you to come along. Be patient, grow big and strong and I'll see you in August. Grandma loves you very, very much.